March 26, 2020

Dear smokers,

We know for a fact that most of you are not happy to be smoking: 7 out of 10 smokers would prefer buying something other than cigarettes. We also know that a vast majority of you has already tried quitting, so far without success. This is totally understandable – smoking also affects parts of the brain that we cannot control with our will. However, every failed attempt can be used to learn valuable lessons – what was helpful, why did I not succeed, and what will I do differently next time.

If you happen to be postponing that “next time”, now is the perfect moment to give it another try. Smoking damages the entire body, but especially the lungs, and also considerably weakens your immune system. Smokers are generally more likely to get infected and infectious diseases tend to have a more severe course in smokers as compared to non-smokers. For many other reasons, smokers are more frequently hospitalized, including in intensive care units.

At the time of the coronavirus epidemic, all of the above-mentioned facts can be a great motivation to try to give up cigarettes. The ban on smoking in public places in itself reduced the number of patients admitted for acute coronary events by tens of thousands. Inhaling fresh air instead of the thousands of substances contained in tobacco smoke will do good not only to your own lungs, but also to those of your loved ones. Besides your health and your personal interest, you may also feel good about freeing your bed at an intensive care unit for those who need acute care due to the current epidemics and where healthcare professionals will be able to look after them.

Unfortunately, the impact of smoking lingers for years after quitting, but many things improve immediately: your risk of having an acute cardio-vascular disease, i.e. a heart attack or a stroke, starts falling right away, as well as your risk of developing health issues linked to COPD or asthma attacks, and your immune system becomes stronger.

On a funny note, think about how hard it is to smoke when you are wearing a facemask. So, try to quit. Distant support to help you is available and can be found on website https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree. And please, don’t quit quitting.

The appeal is supported by the following medical societies:

Society for Tobacco Addiction Treatment, prof. MUDr. Eva Králíková, CSc
Czech Atherosclerosis Society, prof. MUDr. Michal Vrablík, Ph.D.
Czech Internists Society, prof. MUDr. Richard Češka, CSc.
Czech Society of Cardiology, prof. MUDr. Aleš Linhart, DrSc.
and others.

Original text: http://www.pneumologie.cz/novinka/1584/spolecna-vyzva-lekarskych-odbornych-spolecnosti-v-dobe-pandemie-covid-19-odlozte-cigaretu-pomozte-v-boji-s-virem/